A’s pursuing Hideki Matsui after pulling offer to Adrian Beltre

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle confirms various reports that the A’s have pulled their offer to Adrian Beltre and says it was “worth at least $64 million over five years.”

For the second offseason in a row the A’s made a strong push for Beltre, only to realize that he viewed them as merely a fallback option and much preferred to sign elsewhere.

In this case that meant re-signing with the Red Sox, although that no longer looks like an option for Beltre following Boston’s trade for Adrian Gonzalez.

As for who the A’s will turn to next, Slusser speculates that Hideki Matsui could be atop their list of targets. Going from Beltre to Matsui is quite a dropoff, but the A’s are looking for a veteran designated hitter after non-tendering Jack Cust last week and as usual they’re having a tough time luring top free agents to Oakland. Slusser says the A’s have also “put in a call on” Vladimir Guerrero.

Shohei Ohtani no longer facing Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday at Yankee Stadium

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Shohei Ohtani has essentially become the Angels’ designated Sunday starting pitcher, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced Thursday morning that the 23-year-old two-way Japanese star will be skipped in the rotation this weekend at Yankee Stadium for “workload management” purposes.

Ohtani is fine to continue hitting, so there’s no sense of any physical ailment.

This decision will rob us — and the Japanese media — of a showdown between Ohtani and countrymate Masahiro Tanaka. And for that we are rather devastated, but you can understand the Angels’ concerns about overuse.

Ohtani has registered a 3.35 ERA, 1.066 WHIP, and 52/14 K/BB ratio through his first 40 1/3 innings (seven starts) as a major league pitcher and he’s slashing .308/.364/.582 with six home runs and 19 RBI in 26 games as a part-time DH.